The water woes plaguing residents in St Joseph is “painful” but there is no quick fix to the problem, though the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) is making some headway, said a water authority board member who five years ago led fellow residents from the rural parish in water protests.
Andrew Dixon, who was sharply criticized by some protesting residents in St Joseph on Sunday while they vented their frustration after going without water for more than a week, acknowledged on Voice of Barbados radio Monday that fixing the persistent water challenges “is not as easy as we would like it to be”.
The Horse Hill resident said: “Yes, the concerns are genuine…it is painful for them [St Joseph residents].” But he vehemently denied that he was no longer championing their plight.
Dixon, who made clear that while he was representing the interests of all Barbadians as a board member, he had not abandoned the people of St Joseph.
“My loyalty lies with the people of St Joseph, he said, while acknowledging that he had led protests in the past without any real understanding of the challenges facing the BWA.
I will not hush when it comes to St Joseph”, he assured
Dixon who was out and about in rural parish yesterday along with St Joseph MP Attorney General Dale Marshall, Minister in the Ministry of Water Resources Charles Griffith and other personnel stoutly defended Marshall’s handling of the matter, after some residents who staged protests outside his constituency office chided the MP for not coming to their aid.
Dixon said: “This water crisis has nothing to do with Dale Marshall because he is putting pressure on the minister to make sure the people get water.” He however insisted that the AG had no authority to instruct the board or BWA workers.
Dixon argued that the BWA was on course to provide relief to St Joseph, citing the much-touted Vineyard Water Augmentation Project that is expected to pipe water from the Vineyard Reservoir in St Philip to the reservoir at Golden Ridge in St George via Mount Pleasant, St John. It is also expected to boost the water supply in sections of St Andrew, St Thomas, St John and St Joseph.
“The next thing is to put a reservoir into Castle Grant,” he said citing another solution.
But he noted that a major issue was the shortage of water tankers to distribute that water.
“We want to procure tanks, we realise it is difficult to get tanks. We have to look at making the tanks in Barbados so that we have adequate trucks to serve the whole of Barbados and not just St Joseph. (SD)